Ten Ways to Get The Most Out of Lent

(repost)

As you know this week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I *LOVE* Lent. I do. Really! Lots of us cradle Catholics find the fasting and sacrifices of Lent a drudgery. Others ignore Lent altogether. Not me. I see Lent as a mini New Year. A new beginning and another chance to re-charge the batteries in my relationship with the Lord.

10 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent

Here are some ideas for you to spend your time this Lent. (Btw, if you read my “Making Advent Meaningful” post, you’ll notice some of the suggestions are the same. That’s because there are some things – like the Mass and rosary – that are worth being reminded of again. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

1. Daily Mass. Since the Eucharist the the “source and summit of our faith”, it stands to reason that daily mass should be on top of our Lenten “to-do” list!

2. Adoration. Next to the mass, adoration is the next best thing – especially if you are unable to make it daily mass for whatever reason. More and more parishes are offering at least monthly or weekly exposition and adoration (and some have perpetual adoration) of the Blessed Sacrament, so try and snag a half hour each week if you can!

3. Stations of the cross. The Stations of the Cross is a beautiful way to remember the passion of the Lord. Again, most parishes have Stations of the Cross once or twice each Friday of Lent. If you can’t make it to church, you can get some beautiful pamphlets for next to nothing and pray they them at home with your family.

4. Forgive. Through Jesus, our sins are forgiven and so that we may receive mercy. One of the best (and hardest!) ways to show gratitude for the Lord’s goodness is to forgive those who have hurt us – especially if the transgression was grievous. Just as hard, ifย  not even harder, is forgiving ourselves. Or sometimes we hold on to grudges and anger, even when we can’t remember how a particular person has hurt us! If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, maybe you can pray the Lord opens your heart to forgiving someone who has hurt you, or praying that He will help you forgive yourself? Even the prayer that He helps you to WANT to forgive would be a great start…

5. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The morning and evening prayers of the Liturgy of the hours are always beautiful, but especially during the Lenten season.ย  It is the official prayer of the church, and when you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you are united will all the faithful around the world who are praying it with you!

6. Go to confession. It’s called the Sacrament of Reconciliation now, but whatever you call it, there’s no better way (besides the mass!) to prepare for Easter. There will be (or should be) many Penance services around your diocese, so you should be able to find one that fits in your schedule.

7. Watch the Passion of the Christ. Yes, watching the Passion of the Christ is painful. It’s in your face. It renders us speechless. And it should. What Jesus endured for our sake wasn’t “touchy feely” or a walk in the park. It was ugly, but our sin in even uglier, and sometimes we (I) need something like this movie to remind us (me) just how much Jesus loves us and was willing to endure for us.

8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Who says you have to wait for the Divine Mercy Sunday Novena to pray the chaplet? It’s a short but perfect prayer for Lent. I also try and read parts, if not most, of Saint Faustina’s diary during Lent, too.

9. Pray the the Scriptures. Next to participating in the Sacraments, there is no better way to deepen our relationship with the Lord than Scripture.ย  Spending as little as five minutes a day with His Word can transform your life. (New to reading the Bible? Read this guide on how to pray the Scriptures.)

10. Fast. All through Lent we will be hearing about fasting. It’s good for the soul. It opens our eyes to the needs of others. it cleanses us of our base passions. But, fasting isn’t just giving up food, or even television (both of which are excellent). This year, why don’t we fast from anger, sloth or any of the other “capital sins” and try to feast on its opposing virtue? (I know my diet has been terribly deprived of patience lately! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Now, don’t feel pressured to do all of these activities. Remember, the focus is to deepen our relationship with Christ not add on more to-dos! Start out small. Pick one to three activities and focus on those. Lent is not a competition or race to see how much you can do. It is about focusing on a few things and doing them well so that you can focus on growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord, not exhaust yourself.

So tell us, what are your suggestions for making Lent special for you this year?

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Comments

  1. Carol, thank you for these really insightful thoughts on Lent. I also honestly love Lent!:) I think it is putting the focus where it really belongs and ridding my life temporarily of distractions that brings me so much real joy in the Lord. Lent is my favorite time of the year, it is a such a blessing to be invited to get back on track with God.

    I have a question for you about adoration. Is it ok that I ask it here?:) Just let me know if I should message you privately please. As you may know, I live in Norway and Catholic churches are VERY few and far between. There are only a handful in the entire country. We have one an hour away, thank God, that we attend though but as far as I know, Adoration isn’t common at all. I wish it were. At home in Canada, it is common and in fact, my mom and sister have a key to the adoration chapel and can go whenever they feel like it…sounds wonderful. Anyway, I realize how powerful and precious Adoration is and through prayer I have been told Jesus wants me to spend time in Adoration…I guess my question is…how then? Can you practice Adoration in your won home without the Eucharist? Just curious.:)
    colleen…recently posted…The Lost City of YouMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      That’s a great question Colleen! I should have mentioned this in my post. If you can’t get to adoration in a church there are a few websites that offer a live webcam view of their adoration chapel with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. The best one is

      http://www.savior.org

      Another one is:

      Navan Parish live Chapel

      I hope that helps. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Very much, thank you. I was worried it was a stupid question.:)
    colleen…recently posted…The Lost City of YouMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      No worries. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so no need to ever be afraid to ask something. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. We just read Danielle Bean’s 40 ways to celebrate 40 days and we decided as a family to:
    1. fast from complaining
    2. eat simpler and grocery shop less by using the contents of our freezer and pantry

    Please check out (and join) my first ever linky…for Lent at Equipping Catholic Families.
    Getting lonely. =)
    I love your top ten list!
    Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families…recently posted…Stepping Stones through Jesus LifeMy Profile

  4. Adoration has been creeping into my life more and more recently. It is worth mentioning, too, that Adoration doesn’t necessarily require that the Blessed Sacrament be exposed. If you are fortunate enough to find a church that is unlocked, you can stop in and adore the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. There is great peace being in the Presence of the Lord.

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      That’s absolutely right, Karen. Adoring the Lord before Jesus in the tabernacle IS just as wonderful as when He is exposed in the monstrance.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  5. I watch “The Passion of the Christ” every Good Friday. My favorite Stations of the Cross are the scriptural stations published by Liturgical Press from pre-Vatican II. They are tied into the traditional sacred liturgy and just beautiful. Last year I posted a Station a day from my old copy. If you are interested, search “Stations of the Cross” at my site.

    Thanks for this list.
    Barb…recently posted…Sunday Snippets โ€“ A Catholic CarnivalMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      I have no doubt that the traditional stations are beautiful, I can’t wait to check them out. Thanks!

  6. Great post! Thanks!
    Colleen…recently posted…Jesus SavesMy Profile

  7. Nice list
    RAnn…recently posted…Monday MemesMy Profile

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